1992 Speech: Joe Biden Argues to Delay Supreme Court Nominations
As I wrote on Monday, the Dems have turned hypocritical when it comes to replacing Supreme Justice Antonin Scalia. In 2007, Chuck Schumer argued that President George W. Bush should be barred from making Supreme Court nominations during the last year or so of his presidency. In 1992, Joe Biden posed the same argument. Now, when Republicans seek to prevent or delay outgoing President Obama from appointing a liberal judge, the Dems have no ground to stand on.
In 1992, Joe Biden argued that presidents should not be allowed to make nominations “in the full throes of an election year.” I would definitely say that we are currently in the “full throes” of the 2016 elections. C-SPAN dug up the video of his speech and posted it to Twitter yesterday.
“It is my view that if a Supreme Court Justice resigns tomorrow or within the next several weeks, or resigns at the end of the summer, President Bush should consider following the practice of a majority of his predecessors and not – and not – name a nominee until after the November election is completed,” argued Biden while he served as Delaware Senator under President George H.W. Bush. A few influential Republicans agreed with him, taking the same stance they are taking today.
Now, as President Obama vows to fulfill his “constitutional responsibilities” to make a nomination to fill the seat left vacant by the unexpected death of Justice Scalia, Joe Biden finds himself as second-in-command of the in-power party. In 1992, Biden argued that Bush’s successor should make the next nomination. And that is exactly what Republicans are arguing now.
Waiting until the elections are over “is what is fair to the nominee and essential to the process,” said Biden. He also argued that it would be possible for the Court to operate with only eight members. Following Biden’s emphatic speech, the New York Times reported that Biden’s argument was based in part on his fear of the “radical right.”
“He added that President Bush and his predecessor, Ronald Reagan, had sought to move the Court sharply to the right, naming justices who would adopt a conservative agenda. He said both Presidents had ‘ceded power in the nominating process to the radical right,'” reads the article. “It is this power grab that has unleashed the powerful and divisive forces that have ravaged the confirmation process,” said Biden. “Either we must have a compromise in the selection of future justices or I must oppose those who are the product of this ideological nominating process.”
What about the folks who are afraid of the Court swerving too far to the left?